Recently I spoke with a client who came really close to pulling out his wallet and sending thousands of dollars to a debt collector who had threatened and intimidated him and his family. You may be thinking – “how stupid – I would never do such a thing”. But when faced with a debt collector who is violating pretty much every rule under the FDCPA there can be a real sense of panic and fear and you may be willing to pay what ever they are asking to get the threats to stop.
But before you pull out your wallet and make a huge mistake, here are a few bits of information that should put your mind at ease:
#1 – You are Not Going to Jail
One of the most common threats I hear with the thug debt collectors is that you will end up in jail if you don’t pay up. Sometimes the debt collector will just infer that you are going to jail by saying things “if you don’t pay we will be forced to file ‘charges’.” Or I have even heard a debt collector threaten to “send the sheriff over to pick you up.”
While this may have scared you half to death, you can rest assured that you are not going to jail for failing to pay a debt. Further, threatening jail or inferring that you have committed a crime violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and provides you with a basis to sue the debt collector.
#2- Unless You Have Been Sued, Your Wages Will Not Be Garnished
A common misunderstanding is that a creditor can garnish your wages simply because you fell behind on your monthly payments. Debts like credit cards, medical bills, and most personal loans are unsecured debts – meaning that there is no collateral or security on the loan.
Unsecured creditors cannot garnish your wages unless they first sue you, win in court, and get a judgment against you. Until then these are nothing more than idle threats that are meant to intimidate you.
#3 – Before You Pay a Penny – Speak with a Consumer Protection Attorney
Most consumer protection attorneys like myself are happy to meet with people for free and discuss what the debt collector has alleged and whether are not they are acting within the law.
If the debt collector is acting within the bounds of the FDCPA and you actually owe the debt, then they have every right to try and collect payment.
But if the debt collector is acting abusive or in anyway being unfair to you in the collection process – even if you owe the debt – you don’t have to put up with their garbage. Fight back against debt collectors that are ignoring federal law. You will not only stop the bad behavior but you can make the rogue debt collector pay you $1,000 in statutory damages, any actual damages, and even make them pay your lawyer fees.
Schedule a Free Consultation!
John Skiba, Esq.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your debt problem and help you put together a game plan to eliminate your debt once and for all. Give us a call at (480) 420-4028